Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Plant Savannah Grass

By Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 21, 2017

Savannah grass (Melinis nerviglumis Savannah) is a compact ornamental grass that produces mid-summer plume flowers in the color of mauve. The grass is hardy to plant as a perennial in USDA growing zones 8 through 10 but can be planted as an annual grass in colder growing zones. Savannah grass is a long-blooming variety that is low maintenance for use along borders, as an accent in containers or in beds for fresh cut flowers.

Sow Savannah grass seed 10 weeks before the preferred outdoor planting date. Fill a seeding tray with a sterile seed-starting medium that is moistened with water, and sprinkle the seeds on top. Lightly cover the seeds with the medium and cover the tray with a clear plastic bag or a hard cover plastic that came with the seeding tray to create a greenhouse environment.

Place the seed tray in a warm location with indirect sunlight. Monitor the moisture level to prevent the medium from drying out. Remove the cover once the seedlings reach approximately 1 inch tall.

Thin the seedlings by removing close-growing sprouts. Continue to grow the seedlings until they are large enough to transplant outdoors.

Select a planting area for the Savannah grass that is well-draining and has full sunlight conditions.

Plant seedlings outdoors at the same depth they were grown in the container and at a spacing of 9 to 12 inches.

Water the soil well after planting to stimulate further growth. Continue to water the grass plants during the growing season with 1 inch of water per week when the rainfall amounts for the week are less than 1 inch.

Apply 1 to 3 inches of mulch around the plants, making sure to not pile it tightly around the stem of the plant.


Things You Will Need

  • Savannah grass seeds
  • Seeding tray
  • Sterile seed-starting medium
  • Clear plastic covering
  • Shovel
  • Mulch


  • Savannah grass seeds will sprout in approximately 10 days.
  • Savannah grass will grow well in a loamy type soil.

About the Author


Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.